LANDOVER, Md. -- He allowed that it was cool. The hard part was reveling too much in it after yet another loss in a dreary season. So, yes, Pierre Garcon liked that he set a new Washington Redskins record for catches in a season, passing Hall of Famer Art Monk. But, yes, Garcon could not exactly hold a celebration.
"With a season going on like this, it's hard to celebrate anything right now," he said.
Garcon finished with 11 catches in Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, giving him a new single-season franchise record of 107 catches. Garcon also finished with 144 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted 18 times; no other receiver was thrown to more than four times.
Monk was gracious Sunday night when discussing the record, which he originally set with 106 receptions in 1984. The Redskins finished 11-5 that season. No one else caught more than 42 passes that season; no one else has caught more than 45 this season (which Jordan Reed caught in nine games). Monk averaged 12.9 yards per catch and caught seven touchdown passes. Garcon is averaging 12.1 per reception with five touchdowns.
"I'm excited for him. It's an opportunity that doesn't come along very often, so whenever you have an opportunity to set a record with the NFL or a team, it's a great opportunity," Monk told reporters in the press box via phone. "Having set the record myself, I understand how exciting it is, so I'm excited for him. Records are meant to be broken. I didn't expect to have it as long as I had it, but I'm glad the pressure is off of me now. He has the opportunity to step forward and get all the praise and the glory for it."
While Garcon initially tried to downplay the record, he eventually allowed himself to say what it meant to him. Getting post-game congratulations from former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, who attended the game, mattered to him.
"It's cool, I'm not going to lie about that," he said. "To be up there with Art Monk and those guys -- I saw Doug Williams today and it's pretty cool. But there's still a lot more that I can do, and want to do, and will try to do throughout my career here."
Garcon plays with passion and emotion, whether it's receiving or blocking. It's why coaches and teammates respect him. He's also come a long way since playing for Division III Mount Union and for having the reputation of a guy who dropped too many passes while with Indianapolis. Every receiver drops the occasional pass, but Garcon has cut way down on the drops. No receiver caught more passes during training camp than Garcon, who would grab probably more than 500 just during morning walk-throughs instead of just standing around idle as others ran plays. And he makes catches others don't make, like he did Sunday while sitting on the ground after he had slipped on the turf.
"It tells a lot about Pierre and his preparation during the offseason, what he brings every week," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "Week in and week out he's a competitor. Not only does he do it catching passes, but he does it in the running game as well. It's hard to find complete receivers like Pierre. He's a complete receiver."